Hasselblad XPan panoramic camera reinvented for the digital era

Oppo Find X5 Pro and Hasselblad XPan
Oppo Find X5 Pro and Hasselblad XPan (Image credit: Oppo / Hasselblad)

The Hasselblad XPan is probably one of the most desirable, and unusual, film cameras ever made. Unlike the medium format cameras that have made Hasselblad famous, the XPan used 35mm film to shoot panoramic images that were 65x24mm in size. 

And now Oppo is offering you the chance to shoot images with the same panoramic ratio on its latest camera phone, the Find X5 Pro. And the reason for the inclusion of this rather novel smartphone mode, is that Hasselblad is now working with Oppo to help it with its photo technology. This XPan mode was first seen on OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9 phones last year, but now that OnePlus has been merged into Oppo the tech moves to the Find X5 Pro.

The original XPan was launched in 1998, and over 16,000 of these cameras were sold. In 2003, an updated XPan II was produced, of which Hasselblad tells us there 5500 produced before the model was discontinued in 2006. Both models were produced as a joint venture with Fujifilm, which sold the cameras as the TX-1 and TX-2. 

Looking like an oversized compact, and weighing 950g, the XPan actually had an interchangeable lens system with a choice of 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm primes. A secondhand XPan sells with the 45mm lens for around $4,000 / £3,000 on eBay.

A novel feature of the cameras was that, unlike other 35mm models, the film was wound back into the cartridge after each exposure – to minimize noise when shooting, and to avoid the disaster of fogging the film if the back was accidentally opened. 

XPan mode in operation on the Oppo Find X5 Pro (Image credit: Chris George/Digital Camera World)

Color image shot in XPan mode on Oppo Find X5 Pro (Image credit: Chris George/Digital Camera World)

Mono image shot in XPan mode on Oppo Find X5 Pro (Image credit: Chris George/Digital Camera World)

The Oppo incarnation of the XPan is, of course, one of the digital menu options on it built-in cameras - but despite having three built-in lenses only offers the one wideangle view when shooting the panoramas. In a nod to the Hasselblad association, the on-screen shutter button is orange.

A neat trick of the XPan mode, however, is that as you fire this shutter the image you have just taken is displayed as a negative (either color, or black and white, depending on which you have chosen). But the images themselves are recorded on the internal memory as positives.

Oppo Find X5 Pro (Image credit: Oppo)

Read more
Best camera phones
Best film cameras
Best panoramic tripod heads

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.